Designer Harri Koskinen (b. 1970) studied at the Lahti Institute of Design and the University of Art and Design Helsinki. In 2000, he established his own studio, called Friends of Industry Ltd., which offers product and concept design as well as exhibition architecture.
In January 2012 Koskinen was appointed Design Director at Iittala. Koskinen works for Iittala as an external consultant, which enables him to continue his vocations as independent designer and entrepreneur. This new post consummates the long-term cooperation between Koskinen and Iittala that began with his role as an in-house designer in 1998.
Harri Koskinen’s design is characterized by practicality and strict aesthetic criteria. He is always searching for innovative solutions for both the consumer and the producer. Koskinen usually relies on existing techniques and materials, while taking them a step further. He strives for simplicity in his designs – his aim is to bring out the best qualities of a product or a space and let them speak for themselves.
Koskinen is currently one of the world’s best-known Finnish designers. He has won several awards over the years, the most significant being the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize, a Swedish honour that was bestowed in Koskinen in 2009 for his design work, and the Compasso d’Oro Award, one of the design world’s most prestigious recognitions; Koskinen received this Italian award in 2004 for the Muu chair he designed for Montina. In 2007 he was awarded the Pro Finlandia medal by the President of Finland. Other prizes won by Koskinen include the Fennia Prize Grand Prix for work he did for Genelec, multiple Red Dot Product Design Awards, an EDIDA, several Design Plus awards, the Interior Innovation Award, and the Young Designer of the Year 2000 award. Koskinen’s works have been presented in numerous exhibitions all over the world. He had his first solo exhibition at the Miyake Design Studio Gallery in Tokyo in 2000, followed by exhibitions in cities such as Stockholm, Berlin, Gaggenau, Helsinki, Moscow, St.Petersburg, Gothenburg, London, Milan, New York, Madrid, Los Angeles, Washington and Paris.
Designed in 1996, Koskinen’s Block lamp by Design House Stockholm was launched in 1998. New York’s Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, later added the Block lamp to its collection. Another of Koskinen’s best-known products is the Vakio watch collection that he designed for Issey Miyake.
In spite of his international career and constant travelling, Koskinen has not forgotten his roots in the Finnish countryside. He was born in Karstula, a little municipality in central Finland, and is thus familiar with farm work, home building and other rural activities. Every now and then, he has to get back to Karstula and drive around its gravel roads. Although he is interested in different cultures and the vibrant metropolitan lifestyle, Koskinen sometimes feels the urge to return to the peaceful countryside and bathe in a traditional smoke sauna. His respect for and interest in nature and locality has also taken Koskinen into the field of gastronomy; he is a partner in the Finnish organic and local production food concept and store called Maatilatori – Eat&Joy Farmers Market. Koskinen has also designed all Maatilatori stores and shop-in-shops.
Altia, Arabia, Artek, Asplund, Beauty Prestige International, Cassina IXC, Danese, Design House Stockholm, Finlandia Vodka Worldwide, Finlayson, Galerie Forsblom, Galerie Kreo, Genelec, Iittala, Lundia, Marimekko, Maruni Wood Industry Inc., Issey Miyake Inc., Montina, Muji, Muuto, Nokia Tyres, Oluce, Olvi, Panasonic, Seiko Instruments Inc., Swarovski, Venini, Woodnotes